Although not many people are currently visiting Long Beach State due to coronavirus pandemic related restrictions, the University Design and Construction Team has been working on building renovations throughout the campus.
Currently, Enrollment Services, the Anna W. Ngai Alumni Center and the Los Alamitos and Los Cerritos buildings are undergoing redevelopment.
E. James Brotman Hall has gone through three prior renovation phases, with the upgrade of Enrollment Services being its final stage. These prior renovations have addressed Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility, technological issues and expanding spaces where students and staff have face-to-face interactions.
“Over the past decade, we have had a large number of students applying to Long Beach. It’s kinda kept increasing,” said Mark Zakhour, director of construction services. “So with that volume and the number of students that need financial support or enrollment support or student support services, that increase has caused us to need to renovate Enrollment Services’ departments to meet that need.”
According to Zakhour, the first floor of Brotman Hall, where Enrollment Services is located, hasn’t been upgraded in at least 25 years.
The redesign of this department will focus on upgrading fire safety, ADA accessibility standards and office space, he said.
“Before [the renovations] it was really unwelcoming and depressing. It was just a really bad space,” Zakhour said. “The air conditioning system didn’t work, it leaked water, and it was just really bad.”
Though the renovation of Enrollment Services has been designed, it has not yet received any funding to officially begin construction.
The project cost is estimated to be $3 million and will be funded by state-deferred maintenance funds or academic affairs operational funds, which Zakhour hopes is secured next month.
If secured, construction will begin in April with an estimated completion date of October 2021.
In addition to enrollment services, the Anna W. Ngai Alumni Center will begin construction soon. Construction workers are completing the underground work needed to start building the foundation of the building. The center is estimated to be completed by January 2022.
A new alumni center, a $10.5 million project completely funded by alumni donors, is set to replace the recently demolished Soroptimist House, which had been a student union back in 1960.
The new building will be open to alumni and will house a conference room, various event spaces, a family room and a cafe. According to Zakhour, the alumni center will also have a university memorabilia hall and will house former mascot Prospector Pete.
“It will be the new home for our alumni. There is not really a place on campus that alumni can call home,” Zakhour said.
In addition, the university’s Design and Construction Team is also working on renovations of Los Alamitos Hall and Los Cerritos Hall, which are part of Hillside College Dormitory.
These updates include fire sprinklers and new fire alert systems, which are “probably the most important part of the project,” Zakhour said. Los Alamitos is also getting an elevator installed, something that only currently exists in Los Cerritos.
“We are going into those buildings, and we are going to completely gut the buildings, taking everything from the windows to the floors,” Zakhour said. “We are going to completely update the building to modern standards.”
Both halls in Hillside College will also have community kitchens, late night dining and a counselor in-residence program for students.
The housing project is expected to be completed in August 2021 and will cost approximately $34 million.